Friday, July 10, 2009

Following in our grandfather's footsteps

My brother and I are training for the City to Surf this year. In addition to raising money for charity, we will also proudly carry on a family tradition. You see, my grandfather ran it a few years ago and got onto the evening news for being one of the oldest competitors. He was so chuffed he decided to run again the following year. Sadly he won't be competing this year - he just turned 89 and has gotten a bit more frail, but he's really pleased that some of his descendants will follow in his footsteps, quite literally.

My grandfather has given us quite a legacy to live up to. He's an eccentric, is as stubborn as anything, and has a strong sense of adventure. He has a mind for the mathematical, an eye for mechanics and a nose for a good bargain. Well into his 80's he was still playing tennis, managing his own home, metal detecting (a funny habit where you take a magnetised device to children's playgrounds and beaches searching for lost coins), fixing everyone's clocks and, much to my mother's angst, travelling around the world. So running in the city to surf was just another little challenge to keep himself amused.

I can see my grandfather's qualities in my cousins and siblings. For some, the mathematical mind has found an outlet working as an engineer and for others it is in music. Some have fulfilled their sense of adventure and challenge by travelling the world and others have chosen to manage farms or classrooms of children. More than a few of us have been labelled eccentrics at one time or another.

As we plan for the race, my brother and I egg each other on with that Jack Percival thing of mathematical planning, obsession with time and sense of adventure. We'll aim to finish in 100 minutes, we say, calculating that to equal 7.142857 (approximately) minutes per kilometre. We'll buy running clothes from second hand shops and trade in our relaxed lunchtime catch-ups for daily training sessions around the park. It should be fun.

Better run... see ya!

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